From the Editor

Extimacy

May 2013

Thanks to a neologism dreamed up by Jacques Lacan (1901-1981), we can suffer from extimacy issues, too.

Say you and your loved one are snuggled in front of a stone fireplace with two free glasses of Courvoisier VSOP Five Star cognac (hey, it’s my example). A rainstorm lifts over the waves, glides toward your complimentary oceanfront rental cottage like a blue veil, luminous at twilight. You whisper loving secrets to one another–it’s so romantic, you may even propose. Depending on how many clichés you use, that’s intimacy.

Now throw in a crashing thunderstorm. Strangers run toward you from their cars. Brian Williams is on TV, telling us it’s this week’s Storm of the Century. The storm is so drenched with media it has its own theme music. The beach evacuation team bangs on your door. Quick–enjoy a kiss. You’re a heartbeat away from achieving extimacy.

It’s a Möbius strip. One side of your experience is extremely subjective, endearing, your unconscious sense of self. The other side is as overexposed as Alec Baldwin.

Baldwin stayed at The Inn on Carleton on the West End a few years ago. “It was the most bizarre thing,” former innkeeper Sue Cox told us. “He got in late Friday night. After he’d been in his room for a little bit, he came downstairs and visited the bar for a chat with my daughter, husband, and me. ‘I’d like to have a piece of pie and a glass of milk,” he said. “Where could I get that?”

Intimacy? Not precisely. There was no pie or milk. Extimacy!

It’s your private interiority splayed across a cosmic geography, the human heart bowled through icy space. How frightening the twitterscape seems–jillions of innocents toplessly disclosing shy worlds with nobody bothering even to ‘like’ it. Sea monkeys are more passionate.

Next time you’re deep in thought, released among the vast eternals of a beach, think of the private you and you on the Other side of the mirror.

Maybe that’s why, as summer rushes near, we locals and our intimates love to pretend we’re tourists–to sample Maine’s restaurants and hotels during the secret weekends before the madding summer crowd gets here. Our month of May might as well be an official holiday–when we are they.

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